By this thread, i take it you mean using two network cards, plugged into the same Switch/Hub, identified on the network as the same IP Address.
Yes it can increase your effective bandwidth.
But there is only so much data you can push across the PCI bus of the computer.
It will increase your ping times (bad for playing network games). Not that you need extra bandwidth when playing games. Something like Quake 3 i believe is limited to 5Mbps, and can be throttled back depeneding on how the server is configured.
It can be done under win2k not sure about win2k professional as i use win2k server. Try reading the help files about multilinking ethernet.
Windows98? i don't think so. not without 3rd party drivers.
You have to look into how much its going to effect. Your fastest bandwidth will only be as good as your weakest link. You could have a dual 100/mbit setup. And only a 10mbit hub or link in there. The performance increase really would not be seen that much.
Im running 2 100mb nic's connected to a gigabit switch connected via fiber to the gateway server. Im running Win2k but cant figure out how to take advange of both nics. Im wondering if this is a win2k server only option. I would like to make one card send the other card receive. Do the both need the same IP? Can I use the DHCP and have them both use totally seperate IPs?
This is most likely a w2k server only thing (professional doesn't do load balancing, I think). They (the NICs) have to have separate IP addresses to be on the same network. I'm not sure if you can make one send and the other receive, but the load balancing will make use of both NICs depending on how you configure it (for better throughput or faster application access, etc...)
To aggregate multiple network cards together into a single pipe to increase bandwidth to a network, you need a switch that supports Cisco's FastEtherchannel standard. Instead of assigning ip addresses to the NICs, you use trunking software (may or may not be included with Win2K server) to create NIC pool. Next you connect to your switch (for example, my Cisco 2924XL has a web interface) where you then assign specific ports to a FEC pool.
Without a switch that supports FEC, you are limited to basically three options:
1) Have traffic return over the interface it was received. By default, all traffic gets returned over the default NIC. Which means even if you map a server volume via the 2nd NIC ip address, all traffic still returns over the first. There's probably some registry setting or routing option to force return traffic via the source route -- I haven't looked into how to do this yet under a Windows environment but I currently use this technique on Solaris servers so I know it's possible. Note, this is only useful on the server-side -- when you initiate a connection, you always go over the default route. In a server situation, you can use DNS (or other techniques) to rotate usage between NIC #1 and NIC #2.
2) Have direct connection to another computer with multiple nics using crossover cables. Without a hub or switch to direct traffic, trunking software on both ends can properly recognize multiple nics as a single connection.
3) Use DHCP/write a script/etc to periodically switch the default route. How much use is this? Not a lot -- some network applications are rather sensitive to route switching (for example, irc) and just would piss you off after a while.